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Understanding Privacy 164

privacyprof writes "Slashdot readers familiar with Professor Daniel J. Solove's essay, 'I've Got Nothing to Hide and Other Misunderstandings of Privacy,' might be interested in his new book, Understanding Privacy, which develops many of the ideas in that essay. As rapidly changing technology makes information increasingly available, there has been a great struggle to define privacy, with many conceding that the task is virtually impossible. The book argues there are multiple forms of privacy, related to one another by 'family resemblances.' It explains the framework for understanding privacy which was briefly discussed in the 'Nothing to Hide' essay. The book covers the framework in greater depth and explores how it applies to a wide array of privacy issues, such as data mining, surveillance, data security, and consumer privacy. Chapter 1 is available for free download."
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Understanding Privacy

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  • by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) * on Tuesday June 17, 2008 @07:40PM (#23832365) Homepage Journal

    Personally, I think the idea that privacy is difficult to comprehend is overblown. Privacy is not at all difficult to define, understand, or to properly address in either the social or political sense.

    Privacy is defined by the set of social boundaries dealing with information in any one society that we are expected not to cross. How well you respect privacy is essentially whether you elect to cross those boundaries against those expectations.

    Here is my essay on privacy []; see if reading it doesn't nail the issue for you in very short order.

    There is literally no need to invoke "multiple kinds" or "family resemblances", to mistake the hardening of a boundary (increasing difficulty of access) or the softening of it (as in data becoming easier to get to) for the idea that there actually is one, or to imagine that digital data is somehow qualitatively different than a letter. That's just making a ridiculous mess out of things that weren't all that complicated to begin with.

    Further, it isn't that there has been a "great struggle" to define privacy in a practical sense; any reasonably intelligent citizen knows perfectly well what it is, and they know when it has been violated, too. The problem is that the government (in the USA, at least) has found it to its great advantage to ignore privacy at every level it can; and that we are nearly powerless to do anything about it. That's what is causing all the fuss, and deservedly so.

  • by nebaz ( 453974 ) on Tuesday June 17, 2008 @07:49PM (#23832483)
    This is essentially saying privacy is privacy. "The set of social boundaries ... that we are expected not to cross" really varies from person to person. In fact, if you use this definition, if people accept warrentless wiretapping as the norm, then social expectation will dictate that there really aren't any privacy violations going on, which is a neat little way to define away privacy erosions. What social boundaries are we talking about here, and who is the "we" that are expected not to cross them?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 17, 2008 @07:49PM (#23832489)

    The problem is that the government (in the USA, at least) has found it to its great advantage to ignore privacy at every level it can; and that we are nearly powerless to do anything about it.
    Don't pin everything on the government. There are numerous incursions into our privacy.
  • by HeavensBlade23 ( 946140 ) on Tuesday June 17, 2008 @07:51PM (#23832519)
    *Everyone* has something they'd like to keep hidden. Can I watch you have sex with your spouse, or read your bank statement? Can I have your exact height and weight, and maybe get a glance at your mental health records? Do you mind if I videotape your grandfather's funeral? Got any love letters left over from Junior High I can read?
  • by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) * on Tuesday June 17, 2008 @07:58PM (#23832589) Homepage Journal

    I don't pin everything on the government. However, they are indeed the primary source of privacy problems in the USA right now. We have, historically speaking, had good legal backup for the concept of privacy as embodied in the 4th amendment. The government is doing a great deal to erode those protections on many fronts at once, and this is, I maintain, the key area we need to focus on this issue. While I am not happy if John Q Moron personally invades my email stash, I am a lot more concerned if the government decides that's OK in the face of its own constituting authority. I'll deal with John Q later.

  • by CodeBuster ( 516420 ) on Tuesday June 17, 2008 @08:10PM (#23832721)
    but rather insufficient penalties for violating the privacy of another. If the perceived profit, whether that be money or some other reward, outweighs the perceived loss (i.e. punishment for violating the privacy of another) then privacy will always be violated assuming that it can be. Many of the perceived problems with protecting one's privacy today have been created by or occurred as a consequence of the introduction of new technologies, so it follows then that solutions must also be technological rather than strictly social or legal because of the aforementioned favorable risk/reward quotient for breaching the privacy of another. That is why it is important for people to take the necessary steps to protect their own privacy including use of strong encryption, strong passwords, fake identities, mail drops, etc. I find that it is best to view the entire exercise as an adversarial process [] where the reward for winning is continued privacy and the cost of losing is a breach of privacy. You are continually seeking to protect your privacy while others are actively seeking to breach it.
  • Agreed, it's not that complex. I didn't RTFE/B, nor your FE, but we talked about this at length back in my grad school. It comes down to this:

    Privacy = I decide who knows what about me.

    This, to me, does away with the "I have nothing to hide" fallacy, because that attitude surrenders power. It's not about what they find, it's about who decides when and where they can look in the first place.

    To put it another way, if you argue that the authorities can do whatever they like because you haven't done anything wrong, you surrender any right to make a case that they might be doing something wrong.
  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Tuesday June 17, 2008 @08:15PM (#23832765)
    It's not even about having anything to hide.

    Being under surveillance is a stressful situation. Unfortunately I lost the link to the survey, but I think everyone can relate to it. Remember the time when you were at school and were asked something, maybe something trivial, yet everyone in class looked at you. Think of an interview in the street, maybe a camera team asking for your opinion. Think of a police car driving behind you on the road, even if they don't want anything from you, where you aren't even under any kind of surveillance but you feel like you are.

    Being monitored creates stress. Now imagine putting people permanently under stress. I could see a few flipping before long.
  • Re:grr. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Tuesday June 17, 2008 @08:17PM (#23832787)
    after all, who wants privacy if you cannot be safe to enjoy it?

    Me. Unfortunately, I was not offered the choice.

    Forcing security upon someone who does not ask for it is nothing but paternalism.
  • by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) * on Tuesday June 17, 2008 @08:20PM (#23832813) Homepage Journal

    Privacy = I decide who knows what about me.

    That's a good working model. It doesn't account for someone who comes into your house and sprays graffiti on your walls, though.

    Consider defining your equality this way:

    Privacy = I decide who has access to me, those people I am responsible for, and those things that are mine.

    Then go look at the fourth amendment. Carefully. Think about the role of persons, houses, papers, and effects as stated there, as well as how those things generalize into today's realities, and then take a moment to marvel and just how right those people got the issue.

    Then take another to be absolutely horrified at how wrong today's government has gotten them.

  • Re:grr. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by smittyoneeach ( 243267 ) * on Tuesday June 17, 2008 @08:22PM (#23832843) Homepage Journal
    I'm more worried about the steady growth of entitlements. Bread and circuses will snuff even the biggest economy, eventually. What a bipartisan disaster.
  • by statemachine ( 840641 ) on Tuesday June 17, 2008 @08:28PM (#23832899)
    That's very courageous, coming from Anonymous Coward.
  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Tuesday June 17, 2008 @08:29PM (#23832911)
    My usual response is "You don't have now. Are you sure you won't have in the future?"

    With the changes in laws and the creation of more and more patronizing laws, can you be sure that what you do will not violate the law soon? Worse, is what you are doing today maybe illegal tomorrow, or seen as an indicator for illegal behaviour, and you'll be labeled a criminal because you happen to have similar habits to someone who actually commits a crime?

    We have a lot of pseudoscientific "evidence" thrown at us, showing correlation where there is none, used to create laws and, worse, put labels on people who have nothing to do with it. The alleged correspondence between computer games and violence has been discussed a lot lately, can you be sure that you won't be seen as a possible loose cannon because you play certain games?

    Oh, you don't play games? Well, maybe you enjoy watching swimsuit contests? Who says they won't create some correlation between people who enjoy watching model shows with people who rape women? Still not worried that your cable company wants to know what you watch, and that government wants, too?

    Maybe you're a smoker? Well, are you sure it's still going to be legal tomorrow? And we all know how hard it is to stop smoking, it's almost sure you will try to get your tobacco somewhere, and most likely from that guy you can also get other stuff. Mind if we did a search of your home, just to make sure you don't?

    You've been talking on your phone quite a lot lately. And you know, the people you called happened to live next to some guy we arrested yesterday for terrorism (or something else, pick any kind of random crime). Mabye you'd like to explain to us who you called abroad?

    That convenience store you shopped at? That funny talking guy running it was arrested because we think he has contacts with some terrorists. Maybe you did more than just shop there, too?

    You buy an aweful lot of trans fat grease junkfood, your health insurance decided to up your premium due to your risky behaviour.

    Do I have to go on?
  • by statemachine ( 840641 ) on Tuesday June 17, 2008 @08:31PM (#23832937)

    what's the best response for me here?
    "When's a good time for me to come over and start installing video cameras in your house?"
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 17, 2008 @08:37PM (#23832985)
    I don't think it's a lack of recognition or lack of value. Fear is being used to brainwash people into willingly giving it up. I think respect for privacy is good manners. It distinguishes a thoughtful and sensitive person from a empty fool. Did you ever stumble upon a couple alone in a heated and personal argument and feel the urge to give a polite cough to announce your presence so as not to appear to be 'lurking' before walking purposefully away trying not to snoop? Or did you lurk in the bushes nearby fascinated? Are you the kind of person who a friend can trust alone in their house, or would you find the urge to rummage through their possesions too much?

    As a good rule, a persons respect for boundaries says a lot about their inner sense of self and personal security. Normal, mentally healthy people don't need to be taught these boundaries, they are implicit social contracts. We respect other peoples privacy because we expect the same freedom. Freedom? Well, "The right to be let alone is indeed the beginning of all freedom." (Justice William O. Douglas).

    There are two causes for this to go wrong. One is exhibitionism, and the complementary feeling that others too share a desire to be understood, scrutinised, exposed. It is an exposure of the false self, a persona masque, these people who say "I have nothing to hide" would be mortified to think anyone would know the real self they haven't meticulously cultured and presented to the world. But this schizoidal thing is rare.

    The other, much more common and easily provoked is self loathing. The lack of self respect and autonomy that makes an adult willing to accept pseudo-parental oversight is a cry for help. They're hoping that Nanny state and corporate Big Brother are really going to save them from themselves. They dispense with any real personal responsibility because they are made to feel the world is out of their control.

    Decent societies are founded on the freedom of priviacy. Even commerce and matters of state cannot survive without it. Privacy, the desire to have it and the desire to bestow it is a mark of sanity. It demonstrates a lack of fear, mature boundaries, self assurance, trust and dignity. To give up on this freedom is no different than giving up on the right to vote, to raise a family, to practice religion or freedom of movement and association.

    It beggars belief that something so fundamental and obvious is even debated.
  • by inviolet ( 797804 ) <slashdot AT ideasmatter DOT org> on Tuesday June 17, 2008 @08:46PM (#23833083) Journal

    Being monitored creates stress. Now imagine putting people permanently under stress. I could see a few flipping before long.

    Yes, and more. Privacy lets you behave morally (as judged by your own moral code) in a world of people who would wrongly criticize you. For example, right now I need privacy in order to spank my children in a world that is presently running a perilous anti-spanking experiment.

    As social creatures, disapproval and disenfranchisement cause us physical pain. Privacy shields our proper actions from that.

  • by Drakonik ( 1193977 ) <> on Tuesday June 17, 2008 @08:49PM (#23833117) Homepage
    So if you have nothing to hide, you would be perfectly comfortable with "THEM" listening/watching/observing all communications made between you and: your friends; your family; your significant other (God knows I don't want some NSA operative reading some of the pet names I have for mine)? You're okay with them having access to all information relating to you, including name, age, sexual orientation, date of birth, blood type, medical history, insurance history, credit history, dating history, and I would go on, but I'm having trouble thinking of more personal things "THEY" would be interested in.

    There's a concept known as the "slippery slope" that basically mirrors the saying, "Give X and inch, and they'll take a mile." If we let "THEM" listen in on phone conversations so that "THEY" can prevent terrorism, it'll be a matter of time until we're asked to endure the wiretapping because there are 'harmful dissidents' in the country, trying to harm the nation. Actually, for a real-world tangible example where you can see the effects of allowing your government to invade your privacy, look at China. Yeah, you can call semi-Godwin's Law on me for citing Communists, but tell me that I'm wrong. They claim that the censorship, the firewall, and all that is to help keep the country safe and sane, but who really believes that?
  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Tuesday June 17, 2008 @08:52PM (#23833135)
    If you had a honest government, it would make it its business to deal with John Q for you.

    Unfortunately, if John Q owns some kind of corporation, chances are that you're in the wrong if you kick him out.
  • Re:grr. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Falconhell ( 1289630 ) on Tuesday June 17, 2008 @09:21PM (#23833393) Journal
    By neglecting national defence, I hope you really mean "Not continuing to invade other countries and kill the citizens of other countries for the benefit of corporate commercial interests"

    That would actually be a *good* thing. Nearly everything the US does in the name of "national defence" is actually to the benefit of US based multinational corporations.
  • by ghostunit ( 868434 ) on Tuesday June 17, 2008 @09:23PM (#23833401)
    Because knowledge is power. Therefore, information about me can be used to gain power over me. Privacy keeps others from having such information.

    There are other reasons I guess, but that's the most important one when relating the concept of personal privacy to institutions such as government agencies, corporations, etc. It has nothing to do with shame or morality, it's all about power and control.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 17, 2008 @09:47PM (#23833585)
    Inviolet, please don't spank your children. While it reduces the offending behavior in the short-term, the evidence suggests that the offending behavior usually returns more strongly than it was previously within three to six months. More importantly, corporal punishment is harmful to developing minds and teaches very bad lessons. There are healthy alternatives to spanking that are better for everyone in the long run.

    Your private life shouldn't be judged by the ethical theory du jour, and while I agree with you that there are many dangerous trends in current culture , the anti-corporal punishment movement is not one of them.
  • by Marful ( 861873 ) on Tuesday June 17, 2008 @09:48PM (#23833595)
    An Excellent post fyngyrz!

    The problem is one of convenience. The average citizen is uneducated as to the nuances of liberty and freedom. (Not, I should say, uneducated in general). Given then the ignorance of liberty and freedom, they are easily swayed into giving up their constitutional power under the guise of necessity. For it is much more inconvenient to object and much more convenient to acquiesce.

    Take a look at every legislation that resulted in the encroachment, or out right infringement of the 4th amendment. Every single incident was precipitated by some perceived "danger" to society as a whole in which that specific piece of legislation was to address.

    Ironically, this is nothing new. And again, the masses are ignorant. Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.

    Give the masses their bread, give them their entertainment, and they will become complacent. Make it too inconvenient for them to question and they will not until the very end.

    "Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual." - Thomas Jefferson

    "The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first." -Thomas Jefferson

    "They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

    "Necessity is the plea for every infringement of Human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves." - William Pitt

    "Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters." - Daniel Webster
  • by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) * on Tuesday June 17, 2008 @09:50PM (#23833603) Homepage Journal

    Not really. Knowledge is not a synonym for physical or human-free (computer) non-storing access; yet access -- to knowledge certainly, but also to property, your person, your effects, your home -- directly addresses the issue at hand.

    Personally -- and I seriously mean that, this is not about you -- I find that boiling things down to be concise is a task that, while eminently worthwhile, is fraught with the risk of error. One of the signals that I've gone too far is when I find myself trying to make what I said into an abstraction of an abstraction. That's why I would not adopt your formulation.

    In this case, I find the fourth amendment instructive. Those were incredibly insightful people. When they said the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, that really covers the bases very well, without having to get all hand-wavy.

    ...unless you're a government stooge, that is. In which case, like the commerce clause, the prohibitions against ex post facto laws, the phrases "shall make no law" and "shall not be infringed" and "shall enjoy the right" and "nor shall be compelled" and others, we are being told we should believe it means the exact opposite of what it says. I have a severe problem with that.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 17, 2008 @10:44PM (#23834007)
    Privacy has nothing to do with hiding something. Privacy is a basic need of any
    individual (as opposed to communal) human being.

    The survivors of Auschwitz and other Nazi concentration camps, when asked following
    their liberation about the greatest deprivation or torment they had endured, the almost
    universal response identified the lack of privacy. Even living in filth, disease,
    and hunger cannot compete with being denied a private existence.

    Few of us have experienced, or will experience, a total lack of privacy. But be assured,
    the loss of private moments, private property, and a private life can be devastating and
    inimical in the extreme. It derives from the core of our human nature. Protect it above
    all else.

  • by WaltBusterkeys ( 1156557 ) * on Tuesday June 17, 2008 @10:55PM (#23834083)
    So if you have nothing to hide,

    I think you missed the sarcasm tag there. WHOOSH.

    The point is that most people on /. post in these discussions using pseudonyms for a good reason; we like to be able to control who knows our IRL identity.

    There are a few people who use real names, and for that I commend them.
  • by b4upoo ( 166390 ) on Tuesday June 17, 2008 @11:09PM (#23834181)
    Perhaps they should not be saved from themselves. Being wiped out financially just might alter their value systems in such a way as they now VALUE UNDERSTANDING instead of shallowness.
  • by fermion ( 181285 ) on Tuesday June 17, 2008 @11:26PM (#23834299) Homepage Journal
    This was the jist of Bruce Schneier's essay on this very topic. One big issue in privacy is the imbalance of power. One example he used was that the police routinely video tape a traffic stop, and there is nothing wrong with that, but that while they have the freedom to use it was they wish, you have no formal method of gaining a copy. It appears that while the public has no right to privacy, the cops have something to hide. A more recent example in the news is the Bush administrations lack of email archives. While the private emails are supposed to be open for inspection, public emails, paid fo by tax payers dollars, remain hidden. Then there was the reluctance of the McCain family to release tax returns, something done by all presidential hopefuls to prove they have nothing to hide.

    The founding fathers certainly knew the dangers of such asymmetries. It is sad that their heirs care only about exploiting such asymmetries to satisfy some personal greed.

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Tuesday June 17, 2008 @11:49PM (#23834499)
    The problem is that you do not win. They still accept the loss of privacy, they still accept the surveillance and snooping, they still accept being monitored. All you won is a silly, pointless argument.

    You won the argument, ok. He has something to hide. But now he thinks you're some professional tinfoil-hat wearing paranoiac who blows stuff way out of proportion. The government/corporations/whoever don't want to put a cam into his toilet.

    He doesn't even understand the connection. You argue from a rather esotheric, on-principle point of view. Most people don't care about that, they see only what's currently happening, they don't see the abstract behind it. The government wants cams on the streets, they want a look at your email and webpage, they want to know who you call, corporations (and the feds, in turn, but who cares?) want to know where you shop and what you buy, and so on.

    That's usually none of a normal person's concerns. They don't see the long term effects. They only know that the feds won't put a cam into their home, and that they can easily keep you from doing it. Case closed. Nothing to worry about. And if everything fails they'll bluff back and say that the government could put a cam down their potty anytime, but you don't.
  • by Sperbels ( 1008585 ) on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @02:54AM (#23835515)
    There are plenty of people who would counter this by saying that this could never happy in my country. They'd be fools, but they'd still say it.
  • by dotancohen ( 1015143 ) on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @04:29AM (#23835957) Homepage
    No, then they blame the banks, or the virus writers, or MS, or the guy who sold them the computer. They themselves are never to blame.
  • by Moraelin ( 679338 ) on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @05:51AM (#23836339) Journal
    Actually, what makes anything difficult with humans is our being herd animals. We do stuff that we think would please the herd and make us better liked by our peers. Because we're nice and social like that.

    Unfortunately, that can be used jujutsu style against us. Enter: groupthink. And there are those who figured out how to do that. It's not new, it's at least ten thousand years old, very probably even more.

    Groupthink is a funny thing. Take for example a bunch of farmers, like in the infamous Goering quote, who each independently would rather work their farm than go risk death and crippling in a war where they have nothing to gain. Independently, each would rather _not_ go to war. Put them in a situation where each thinks "OMG, I'd lose face if the others think I'm a coward and unpatriotic" and watch them thump their chests and screaming pro-war slogans. Watch them cheer for the very things they despise secretly. Or conversely shaking a fist and yelling against the very things they desire.

    And after a short while, cognitive dissonance kicks in, and they even lie to themselves that they really want those things they hate, and they really hate those things they want.

    It's the emperor's new clothes story. Get a bunch of people who think everyone else sees those non-existent clothes, and that their standing would fall dramatically if they don't. Watch them all swear that they can see them clothes. In fact, watch cognitive dissonance kick in, and see them convince even themselves that they _do_ kinda see the clothes.

    Where the Grimm Brothers got it wrong, is that that phenomenon is _very_ hard to unravel. In the story, all it takes is one kid shouting "the emperor is naked", for the whole charade to come apart. In reality, that wouldn't do jack squat.

    In reality, for you to be brave, someone else must be a coward. To provide the comparison. For you to be smart, someone else must be stupid. For you to be a superior audiophile who hears the difference in downloaded MP3s with an audiophile Ethernet cable, someone else must be inferior enough to not hear it. Etc. The child shouting "the emperor is naked" just provides that other term of the comparison. It makes everyone else in the crowd pat their backs and congratulate each other that they're not like that simpleton kid who can't see the clothes.

    It's a funny thing too, in that it's not even the emperor's guards that make it happen. They're at best a catalyst to get it started. Two hundred years later the emperor could be dead and his heirs guillotined long ago, the country could be a democracy, and the "clothes" could be in a museum showing the craftsmanship in the old days. Or maybe as proof of the excesses of nobility in the old days. And people would still come and squint and convince themselves that they _can_ see some fabulous clothes behind the glass. Just because everyone else does.

    So what does this have to do with privacy? Well, that's why you have to explain to people exactly what privacy is and that it's not some shameful failing to need your personal space. Because there are plenty of those trying to make it sound like you're some horrible monster and your peers would surely shun you if you want privacy. The ball is already rolling towards turning it into a group-think situation, and there are interested parties pushing the ball in that direction too. You need more than just, well, "privacy is privacy, duh, and of course you need it" to defuse that.
  • by icebrain ( 944107 ) on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @06:55AM (#23836599)
    There's nothing wrong with asking for confirmation of major commands like shut down, delete, fdisk, etc., or having them require two separate steps to complete. This is especially true in a GUI, where it's much easier to accidentally choose the wrong command--as opposed to a command prompt, for instance.

    Now if only they'd put those little retaining screws on power cords like they do on the monitor cable... I've accidentally kicked the power cord out at work a couple times. The smart thing would be to rearrange things so it wasn't possible, but the demons in our contracted IT department would come down upon me.
  • by joto ( 134244 ) on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @07:11AM (#23836675)

    Do you seriously believe that drivers who are used to automatic transmission are involved in more accidents? I've never heard of any such statistic, and it seems rather implausible to me. The main difficulty in driving safely is to (a) understand the rules of traffic (b) interpret what you see fast enough to be able react in time and drive safely (c) maintain awareness.

    Being able to handle a manual transmission is mainly an automatic motor-skill, something that doesn't require thought; and if you can learn to walk, ride a bike, or play tennis; you can learn operate a manual transmission. Driving safely is an entirely different skill-set, and a lot more complex than merely training your cerebellum to do a simple skill without thinking. Many people with severe brain damage who needs 24h supervision to handle daily life, can probably easily learn to operate a manual transmission, but I wouldn't let them loose in traffic.

    The main problem with people not understanding computers is that they don't want to, and in an ideal world, they shouldn't have to. Many years ago you needed to be an auto-mechanic to drive. You don't need to anymore. Nor do you need to understand digital radio when using a cell-phone. Or scan-lines for watching "Big Brother" on TV. And there's no reason per se why people need to understand the difference between a CPU and a battery in order to shop at

    Things will eventually get better, but it will probably take a long time until computers are as easy to use as they appear. Until then, accept that not everybody shares your interest in computers. And if they don't want to understand what a keylogger is, you are probably using far too technical language. Most people do not want criminals on the Internet to access their bank-accounts. Tell them what to look for, but not more than they want to know. Just like some drivers learn to watch for warning lights on their dashboard, even though they don't know the difference between "oil", "coil", or "blinker fluid". They simply don't want to learn more, and there's really nothing wrong with that. If you think about it, there's probably a lot of stuff you don't want to learn either. Do you even know what "deconstruction" means? Do you care? And no, being able to google it doesn't count...

  • by Drakonik ( 1193977 ) <> on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @07:41AM (#23836841) Homepage
    Oh my god...I am SO stupid. Goodnight, gentlemen. I'm done.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @08:32AM (#23837143)
    The best reasoning I've ever heard for privacy:

    "Privacy rights are not to protect you from the government you know, they're to protect you from the future government you don't."
  • by stevie.f ( 1106777 ) on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @09:10AM (#23837655)
    1. Can I watch you have sex with your spouse?
    Sure, If you can convince her. she's shy.

    2. or read your bank statement?
    I have two. Which one? And not the account details, just the transactions.

    3. Can I have your exact height and weight?
    5'7". 182lbs

    4. and maybe get a glance at your mental health records?
    Depression. 2006-07

    5. Do you mind if I videotape your grandfather's funeral?
    Yes. You can't do it unless you give me a copy.

    6. Got any love letters left over from Junior High I can read?
    I never got any. sorry

    All of the above I am perfectly happy to share. But I think the point is that I am choosing to share it. I would certainly have a problem with people just taking the information without asking for it.

    Privacy- the right to choose who knows what.

    I have plenty to hide, just not those things and I'm willing to bet that you have an entirely different list of things you don't want to share

The world is coming to an end--save your buffers!